Cocaine traffickers generate about $900m from West, Central Africa – UNODC Boss

The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Mr. Yury Fedotov has underlined the importance of robust development and effective rule of law in reducing West Africa’s vulnerability to drug trafficking and organized crime.

Briefing the UN Security Council February 22, 2012, Mr. Fedotov said there is the need for concerted and coordinated action in the face of rapidly evolving transnational threats in the region.

According to the UN agency, West Africa, in recent years has emerged as a hub for cocaine trafficking between Latin America and Europe.  It noted that approximately $900 million are generated from cocaine trafficked from West and Central Africa to Europe. And traffickers have taking advantage of porous borders and fragile State and security institutions in the region “easily outgun their opponents”.

Piracy, a relatively new phenomenon in the Gulf of Guinea has found a soft target in West Africa, according to the UN official. “Number of attacks off the coast of West Africa – 28 in 2011 compared with 11 in 2010.”

Highlighting the need for broad-based collaboration, Mr. Fedotov said “Our approach recognizes that while the problems in West Africa are local in nature, the solutions are often global.”

Strong regional frameworks could pave the way for mutually reinforcing interregional strategies, he added.

The UNODC in a statement indicated that a network of prosecutors could be established in West Africa, similar to the one already operating in Central America.

Mr. Fedotov called for greater political commitment and international assistance to West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

“Additional resources are needed if we are to sustain reforms in the long term and contribute to security sector reform,” he said.

By Ekow Quandzie

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